Student councils are many things; we like to say we’re conduits for student voices—a mechanism by which you can have an impact on your school. While this is true to some extent, the bulk of what a student council member does each day is plan school events. This doesn’t sound as flashy or as profound as representation, but events do serve a purpose beyond frivolous fun.
In my time on student council, I’ve seen how our events can affect people. After our homecoming week, a student even went so far as to tell us that the week’s festivities had noticeably improved their mental health. Quite the boon for teenagers who are falling victim to an ever growing pressure to succeed, lest they fall into the toothy maw of failure.
Solving the root cause of this anxiety may be a task best left to the philosophers and therapists of the world. In the meantime, we can do our part to cope : an undertaking that student council events contribute to. There’s often a problem, though.
I want you to imagine the average student council event. Loud, boisterous, and packed with people. But students who dislike crowds, are sensitive to too much noise, or just don’t find the topic of the event interesting? Well they’re kind of left behind.
At my beloved place of education, Henry M. Gunn Highschool, we have a tradition called G’floats. Which, despite what their name may imply, don’t move at all. They’re basically just huge decorations that each class puts up during the week of homecoming festivities.
Why does this matter? Well it’s the people that designing the floats appeals to. Those who fall a little closer to the archetypal introvert tend to participate more than any other. The focus of float-building isn’t on people-building. It instead displays a whole team of builders’ talents and effort without necessarily forcing them out of their comfort zones to, say, perform at the homecoming game . Excuse my use of outdated categorizations here, but this tradition is an introvert’s equivalent of an extrovert’s lunch game.
If you’re in student council, or know someone who is, take this as my call to action. I’m not saying you should copy G’floats—trust me, it’s got its own problems—but I encourage you to consider how your events could reach more people.
From what I’ve seen, school events can be just as helpful to students as a successful bargain for better facilities. It’s important, then, for us to be able to serve as many people as possible so that none miss out on the stress relief, school spirit, and community celebration that school events provide.